Sitting roughly in the midrange of Blue’s extensive collection of awesome microphones, the Yeti is branded as the World’s #1 USB Microphone and is lauded by both professionals and budding podcasters alike. For this reason alone, it sits quite high in our chart of the best USB microphones, although there is plenty more to discuss!
When it comes to microphone designers, Blue must employ some of the best in the business! The Yeti has a very distinctive design that is both practical and stylish. It’s quite bulky and looks a tad retro, with a robust all-metal pill-shaped chassis and large semi-dome grille.
Impressively, Blue offer the Yeti in a range of cool finishes, from the original silver to a stealthy all-black model known as ‘Blackout’, as well as – our favorite – the uber-cool midnight blue model, with a black head.
Built into its own desktop stand, this side-address mic features a notable heft (over 2lbs when in the stand) that isn’t particularly cumbersome – instead it oozes quality and feels like a higher-end mic than the sub-$150 price tag suggests. The only letdowns in terms of construction are the plastic volume and gain knobs, which are a little flimsy. Otherwise, full marks!
Pop the hood and you will find the Blue Yeti features some impressive hardware for the price, with three 14mm condenser capsules (an exclusive Blue design), allowing for four different polar patterns: cardioid, bidirectional, omnidirectional and stereo.
As for controls, the front of the mic sports a headphones volume knob (the output jack is underneath the mic) as well as a handy cough button (a.k.a. mute). Round back you’ll find the mic gain knob and that polar pattern selection switch.
Depending on the polar pattern in operation, this mic is listed with a 15Hz to 22kHz frequency response, along with a resolution of 16-bit/48kHz and a max SPL of 120dB – even if you are a passionately loud YouTuber, you are unlikely to reach this kind of volume! On that note, it is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, so connection via the included USB cable is quick and simple.
While the generous max SPL suggests it can capture instrument recording (and it does this quite commendably, we will add), the Blue Yeti is most comfortable with vocals. In particular, speech – making it an excellent choice for podcasting, voiceovers, YouTubing, Skype calls and any other application you can think of. With a 16-bit/48kHz resolution, it’s not going to satisfy the most critical of listeners, but for the applications listed above, it works very well.
The features combine to make it a versatile performer, with the four polar patterns making it very convenient to change from where the mic is picking up sound. The detachable stand allows you to position the mic as you like it, although bear in mind that it’s still a side-address mic at heart, so you don’t want to talk directly into the top of it. Meanwhile, the headphone output allows you to listen to yourself with zero latency.
Spend ten minutes with the Blue Yeti and you can see why it is one of the best-selling USB mics in the world. It looks and feels like something you’d happily keep on your desk at all times, while its versatility and top-notch sound make it well worth every penny. There are cheaper USB mics on the market, but stretching a budget for this one is a smart choice if you are serious about recording at home.